Meggitt Defence Systems has secured a follow-on order from France's DGA procurement agency to supply at least 110 Banshee subsonic target drones over the next five years, extending a deal under which the UK company has already delivered more than 260 of the air vehicles since 2000.

First deliveries under the new contract - a value for which has not been disclosed - will be made this year, and all 110 targets will be delivered by late 2008 for operation by France's CEL and CELM ranges, says Meggitt. Paris has also placed options under the five-year deal to place additional Banshee orders from 2009, says Teresa Horton, the company's director of marketing and sales.

Meggitt also recently delivered a further batch of 17 Banshee target systems to an undisclosed Asian customer, with the user having conducted a two-week training exercise earlier this year which culminated with seven of the air vehicles airborne simultaneously, says Horton.

The catapult-launched Banshee can fly at altitudes up to 23,000ft (7,000m) and has a top speed of over 200kt (370km/h). The design will also be delivered to the UK armed forces as part of the nation's Qinetiq-led Combined Aerial Target Service deal, with Meggitt expecting its role in the project to value some £50 million ($100 million) over the next 20 years.

Source: Flight International